Most school anime have a fairly typical setting. They are usually slice-of-life comedies or dramas that follow a romance plot that has to do with surviving yet another school festival or summer vacations. School in Japanese anime, however, is more than just a setting for love to bloom. Students make for the overwhelming majority of anime characters, but romance and school drama are just two of the multiple genres a story can have. Classroom of the Elite is one of those anime that take the school setting and turn it upside down.
Koudo Ikusei Senior High School is an elite academy with a peculiar model. Students are subjected to a point system that determines their place in the hierarchy of the school. Class 1-D is stripped of all points after breaking the rules, and are now motivated to advance all the way to A class and restore their honor. Of course, that will not happen through written tests.
The anime was part of our preview titles for Summer 2017, so if you want to see more screenshots, click here.
MANGA.TOKYO wants to recommend ten anime that are in some ways similar to The Classroom of the Elite. Even though we are not in favor of categorizing anime in tags, the following 10 titles are a good place to start if you are looking for anime which have similar vibes.
1. Prison School
Prison School was the first anime that came to my mind when I started scouting my mind of anime with peculiar school hierarchies. In anime, many schools have given up control to all-powerful student councils. The Underground Student Council punishes Fujino Kiyoshi and his four friends into serving manual labor in an in-school prison after peeping in the girls’ bathroom. Do you think that’s hard? Wait until you see how the sadistic council treats the boys. I found myself empathizing with the prisoners on more than one occasions.
Of course, it helped that the comedy was right up my alley. The humor has a serious tone that doesn’t rely on mere slapstick moments and the ecchi moments are just the kind of lewd scenes you’d expect from an anime that has a character with huge uncovered boobs punishing four boys. If you want a school setting with rules that are a little too hard to believe, then you have to give Prison School a try.
2. Danganronpa: The Animation
Not all anime on this list popped into my mind in the way I ordered them, but Danganronpa and the anime below were among my top picks. To be honest, the anime that I thought of first was the Summer 2016 sequel Danganronpa 3, but when it comes to a school setting, Danganronpa The Animation is closer to what we seek.
Hope’s Peak Academy is an elite high school that accepts only the most talented of students. They are so uniquely genius that each of them has a title according to what he is a prodigy at. Of course, the protagonist, Makoto Naegi, is not such a prodigy. Of the 15 students of his class, he was accepted out of chance, and that’s why he has the title of the ‘Super High School-Level Luck.’ Naegi and his fellow classmates are confronted by a serial killer bear called Monokuma not long after they enter their new school. Trapped inside, they are given certain rules: if someone manages to murder someone without being discovered he will be let free. If he is caught, he will be executed.
Part Battle Royale and part Ace Attorney, Danganronpa, like The Classroom of the Elite, puts its students into an unfamiliar situation they didn’t expect. The students need to rise up and take matters into their own hands. Also, both anime were adapted by the same studio, Lerche.
Kakegurui was one of my favorite anime from last season. I was lucky enough to write the weekly reviews and I already miss Hyakkaou Academy and my first (almost, to be frank) waifu, Jabami Yumeko. If there were nominations for an award for the coolest female anime protagonist, Jabami Yumeko would have been my pick.
In Kakegurui, the students of the Huakkaou Private Academy are filthy rich. They are also the offspring of the most influential and important leaders of Japan, from entrepreneurs and politicians to athletes and diplomats. They are the future of their country and as such, the stakes, when it comes to their education, are high; quite literally. The hierarchy in the school is decided through gambling with often unreal bets. You just have to see the anime to see what I’m talking about.
4. Baka & Test – Summon the Beasts (Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu)
Another anime where your social status in school is decided by something else than your own personal social skills. In Baka & Test, your grades are your ticket to the higher ranks. Akihisa Yoshii, the stupid protagonist, in class F because his test scores are probably populated by the same letter. Similar to The Classroom of the Elite, the students of class F want to turn the status quo upside down and get the respect they think they deserve.
Spring – Summer 2012
I’ve decided to include Hyouka because it’s one of those school anime that like The Classroom of the Elite has a unique setting but unlike it, it has nothing to do with the school hierarchy. It does take part in a school, however.
Hyouka is an anime about Houtaru Oreki, a high school student who reluctantly joins the Classic Literature Club. Thus, begins a mystery story that has its roots in the dark history of the club. The anime is a testament to human curiosity and to the small mysteries normal life is full of. Everything has a story and Hyouka wants us to be reminded of that.
I’m not a fan of light novels (the few I have read were badly written and easily digested) but this anime is based on an award-winning light novel series by Koten-bu and was directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto. If you want a different take on school life, this is a great anime to watch.
6. The Fruit of Grisaia
Do you want to watch an anime where the protagonist has a hidden past (almost always tragic) that governs the way they act in the anime? Do you want to see an anime where the protagonist is also very strong and has the typical clichés of the harem genre? Do you want an anime with a distinct art style? Then The Fruit of Grisaia is for you.
Mihana Academy is the opposite of a normal school. Besides the principal. Yuuji, our male protagonist, and five girls are the only students of this school. In the course of the anime, Yuuji will learn about his classmates and the tragic past that brought them to the academy.
7. Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu)
Kunigigaoka Middle School also has a caste system. Most of the students belong to the main campus except those with the lowest grades. They are exiled to the old school building on top of the mountain as a deterrent and a reminder to the rest of the students of where they would end up if their grades fail. Yet, there is something peculiar about that class on the mountain: their teacher is an alien that threatens to destroy Earth. Of course, the students are tasked with killing their teacher before that happens.
Do you need anything else to convince you that this is a must-watch anime? Assassination Classroom is both an action anime and a slice-of-life moral-of-the-episode story about a group of students who realize that being kind and insanely strong is more important than good academic grades.
8. C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control is a different kind of recommendation as its main theme is one that we find in The Classroom of the Elite as well: it’s all about the money. The protagonist, Kimimaro Yoga, is a greedy college student who takes part in a game about money in a parallel world.
Similar to the pursuit of points, this anime is about the pitfalls of pursuing wealth.
9. Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online might seem like the last anime to compare to The Classroom of the Elite. Yet, the two protagonists are so similar that a comparison is inevitable. Kirito is ready to help all those in need and he attracts a number of female players around him. The SAO game, like school, is something its players take for granted until they learn of the horrifying reality behind their imprisonment. Their actions could lead to their death (expulsion in The Classroom of the Elite).
There are many other similarities, but in this one, you just have to trust me. If you haven’t seen Sword Art Online, do before the third season starts. You will either love it or hate it.
10. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
You may know this anime from its abbreviation, Oregairu. Hachiman Hikigaya is a new high schooler who has only one fear: he doesn’t want to be involved in any kind of romance. Yet, his guidance counselor wants to change the boy and show him a path that will allow him to enjoy his youth.
Both are entertaining school dramas and if you like the one you will also like the other. They share a similar trio of protagonists: a male who is sarcastic, a female lead that is equally cynical, and another character who is trying to be cheerful.
Not Your Typical School
Students in anime have it rough. Some of them have to gamble their way to the top while others need to work together to kill their teacher. What they all have in common, however, is that they are part of our favorite stories. Do you have a favorite anime that is similar to The Classroom of the Elite? Let us know in the comments!
Also, this is the first official anime recommendations list for MANGA.TOKYO and we want to know what you think: Do you want us to write more of these? Let us know in the comments which anime, games, manga, or light novels you want us to bring a 10 X Like Y article and we will get it done!